Beyond the “It’s Gonna be May” Justin Timberlake memes, there is one major event that marks the turning of the calendar page: The Met Gala, also known as The Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
If you’re addicted to E! News or Vogue, you’ve probably heard of the event. You already know that it’s the one event of the year where stars are expected to follow a strict dress code and theme. It is where some of the best fashion moments of the year will occur. However, there is a lot more to the Met Gala than meets the eye.
History of the Met Gala
The Costume Institute Gala was officially founded in 1948 by publicist Eleanor Lambert, but only recently became the star studded affair that it is today. The celebrity-centered vibe of the event came to fruition in 1999 when Anna Wintour, artistic director of Condé Nast and general Queen of the fashion world became its chairwoman.
The Met Gala is technically a fundraiser for the Costume Institute, one of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s curatorial departments and the only one that funds itself. However, these days the Met Gala is the official hotspot for Hollywood’s fashion set.
Not just anyone can buy a ticket to the Met Gala. For starters, tickets to the event cost $30,000 and purchasing a table will set you back $275,000. Here’s the kicker: even if you have the money, you have to be personally invited by Anna Wintour to purchase a ticket.
So who attends the Met Gala? Attendees are a mix of fashion mainstays like George and Amal Clooney and up-and coming names like Hailee Steinfeld. Celebrities attend as dates of designers, wearing their clothing and acting a symbol of the brand for the night. For example, Selena Gomez attended as the muse of Louis Vuitton in 2016, just as she was being tapped for a campaign with the fashion house.
Each year, the Met Gala has a theme that corresponds with the Costume Institute’s exhibition. In past years, these themes have included “China: Through the Looking Glass” and “Manus x Machina”. Attendees are encouraged to dress according to the theme and the best dressed of the night usually knock it out of the water.
What to Expect in 2017
This year’s theme is “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between,” which bodes well for extreme red carpet moments. Rei Kawakubo is one of the most influential designers possibly of all-time, and she is still alive today. Her work is avant garde, rule-breaking and thought-provoking. Often, Kawakubo’s runways consist of models with hidden faces and large, structural pieces that are more art than clothing.
Because of Kawakubo’s portfolio of work, we can expect celebrities to break out of their comfort on the red carpet. My hope is that most of them choose to embrace the theme instead of relying on their designer date’s aesthetic. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Gisele Bündchen and Tilda Swinton will bring out their best Comme des Garçons interpretations. Stars like Rihanna and Beyoncé will inevitably steal the show with more glam takes on the Japanese designer’s aesthetic. Victoria’s Secret Angels will try to make Comme des Garçons fit into their narrow version of sexy. I can’t wait to see how that plays out.
The Met Gala is fashion’s big night of the year – and you can bet I’ll be watching. Check out Vogue’s livestream of the red carpet on Facebook!